LOS ANGELES -- It was a night of interesting juxtapositions. In this sprawling and segregated city, it was an unusually integrated crowd that sat together for hours Friday night in the stands of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. At the end, following Mandela's lead during the closing song, whites and blacks in the sea of 75,000 raised clenched fists in solidarity with the black South African struggle.

Only an hour earlier, just across Exposition Park, Hollywood stars and starmakers had come together for a fundraiser at the California Museum of Science and Industry. The strikingly blond Peter Weller of "Robocop" fame, in stylish dark jacket, sat at a table with several black women elegantly swathed from head to toe in exotic African dress. At another table, Jane Fonda sat with her ex-husband, Tom Hayden, joined by their son, Troy, and her daughter, Vanessa Vadim. Fonda's current beau, Ted Turner, had bought a table but was unable to attend.

Mandela moved through the events with the dignity and grace that have characterized his appearances throughout the country. There is spareness, almost a steeliness, to his words.

In contrast, celebrities exalted Mandela in emotional and well-meaning, if sometimes overwrought, attempts to convey what Nelson Mandela means to them.

The anti-apartheid leader made a point of speaking to the influence that this crowd has the world over. "So many of you are household names in our country," he told the group. "In prison, as soon as we were allowed to view films and TV we became enchanted by so many of you. In many respects you were our window on our outside world."

He mentioned Sidney Poitier, who spoke at the dinner and had been with Mandela at City Hall earlier in the day. "It is an indictment of South Africa that so many years after Sidney Poitier starred in the film 'Cry, the Beloved Country' our beloved country still cries."

He thanked the group for "taking to your bosom our {cultural} exiles."

He did, however, remind the group of some of Hollywood's less noble attitudes toward Africa as embodied on film. "As a young man I remember seeing Tarzan and being disturbed by this one-dimensional and distorted portrayal. Fortunately over the years a few films have sought to partially redress this. "

As he has throughout the country, Mandela stressed the need to maintain sanctions -- "not the least of which is the cultural boycott," he said to applause from the guests. And he concluded, "We have but two choices -- submit or fight. Since we are not going to submit, we have to fight." The audience signaled their approval with an explosion of applause.

"It's an honor to be anywhere with you tonight," Quincy Jones said earlier to Mandela and the crowd. "I could not give my children a greater gift than to sit next to you tonight."

Actor Danny Glover, who portrayed Mandela in the HBO movie of the same name, spoke of meeting Mandela last week in Boston. "I started to cry as I embraced Mr. Mandela," he said. "After shouting and yelling 'Mandela' all those years, all I could do was cry."

Earlier, in the procession of arrivals, paralyzed Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic came bearing inscribed copies of his autobiographical "Born on the Fourth of July" for the Mandelas.

"It's an honor to be in the presence of one of the most courageous men in the world," said Kovic, who was portrayed by Tom Cruise in the movie based on his book. "I have to say I feel like Mandela -- waiting so many years to break through with my message. I feel like he's a brother."

A small crowd of fans and well-wishers gathered outside the museum to watch the arrival of limousines, hoping to catch a glimpse of a star or -- with a lot of luck -- Mandela. Recognizable faces included actors Richard Dreyfuss, James Garner, Shelley Fabares and her husband, Mike Farrell, and Ali MacGraw. Singer Harry Belafonte, who's been traveling with Mandela, also spoke at the dinner. At one point, a cry of delight arose from the crowd and several public-relations staffers working the party looked up expectantly. "He's not coming this way," said one more knowledgeable staffer. "Don't even think it."

In fact, it was singer Diana Ross. Later squeals greeted, among others, Jimmy Smits of "L.A. Law," Lionel Richie and "21 Jump Street's" Holly Robinson. (The young star was greeted with shouts of "Holly! Holly!") In fact, this crowd was pretty happy with everyone who appeared.

"I just use whatever little kind of celebrity fame I have to get involved," said Robinson. Ironically, she noted, her show is a big hit in South Africa. "I get letters from white girls saying, 'I wish I could grow up to be like you,' " says Robinson, who is black.

The night's events added $1 million to the African National Congress's coffers.

"We'll send him away with a lot of money," said singer Marilyn McCoo, smiling, as she arrived for the gala dinner with her husband and fellow performer, Billy Davis.

"The money couldn't hurt," said actress Jill Eikenberry, who with her husband and "L.A. Law" co-star, Michael Tucker, bought two $1,000 tickets to the dinner. "The {Mandela} Freedom Fund needs all the help it can get."

The Hollywood Women's Political Committee, which has long been involved in fund-raising and education on anti-apartheid issues, was a major force in planning the dinner. In particular, Paula Weinstein, producer of the anti-apartheid film "A Dry White Season," who is affiliated with HWPC and also a member of the board of the tax-exempt Mandela Freedom Fund that will receive the proceeds, raised a significant portion of the money by calling people to attend the dinner. Weinstein, along with Mayor Tom Bradley and several others, was seated at the Mandelas' table.

Ninety percent of the funds came from the entertainment community, with some people making extraordinary contributions. Quincy Jones, who helped plan the dinner entertainment, which included BeBe and CeCe Winan, gave $100,000. Recording executive Berry Gordy and Herb Alpert and Lionel Richie each gave $50,000. Warner Bros. Inc. contributed $75,000.

At the Coliseum, Mandela spoke under a cloudless night sky pierced with a half moon. People brought cameras, tape recorders and binoculars to better capture the event.

"We used to live in Adams-Morgan; we're used to things like this," said Patty Frank, who now lives here. "We used to go and protest in front of the South African Embassy on Martin Luther King Day."

Aerospace engineer Leon Robinson came to hear Mandela's message. He was surprised by the number of whites there, considering the reaction of his co-workers. "People say he's a communist," said Robinson, who is black, looking chagrined. "I've had that fight twice this week. I don't think he's a communist. I just think he supports the people who support him."

Robinson brought his 4-year-old son, Jason, and wife, Tamara, who works in computer sales. "We almost didn't come because I hate crowds," she said. "But I figured if there was one thing I was going to overcome crowds for it was this."

Crowds and long waits. Mandela was expected at 5:30 p.m. for a VIP reception with dinner guests who had paid from $10,000 to $50,000 for their tables. He arrived at 9.

Mandela, in business suit, and his wife, Winnie, clad in a shimmering emerald and gold African dress, were ushered into the hall to a roar of approval. Mandela stopped to speak with a man in a wheelchair. Just before he went into the hall, there was something of a pick-up VIP reception. In a packed holding room, Mandela spent 10 minutes shaking hands and going through hasty introductions. He was just being swept past Jane Fonda when someone pointed her out to him. Mandela stopped. "Oh, Jane! Where's Jane?" he said, seeking her out and greeting her warmly.

Mostly the 960 guests dined without him in the unprepossessing hall which, with walls covered with the colorful artwork of children honoring Mandela, resembled a high school gymnasium. The masses at the Coliseum who paid $10 each to see Mandela didn't lay eyes on him until 11 p.m.

Said Tom Wilkason, who came with his pregnant wife and two of their friends: "It's the only opportunity we're going to get."

In general, the crowds in this complex, called Exposition Park, like crowds everywhere waiting for Mandela, seemed prepared for that. Given the demands of his full schedule, all anyone could anticipate was that he would, sooner or later, show up at the designated place. And, mindful of his age and the demands of this trip, some didn't want much more.

Karen Titus, who works for the Los Angeles City Housing Authority, said understandingly of the delays, "They all needed a rest." Titus should know. Her mother, Maxine Waters, the Democratic California assemblywoman, is the chair of the Mandela Reception Committee here.

"Like my own father, I want to protect you," said actress Alfre Woodard, who played Winnie Mandela in the HBO movie, in an emotional and commanding speech as Mandela and the dinner guests listened. "I want you to go home, eat well and get some rest. You have a prison to dismantle and a nation to build."